Posts Tagged ‘Triple A’

Erin SteppORLANDO, Fla., (April 20, 2015) – The 2015 Tesla Model S P85D earned the top score in the 2015 AAA Green Car Guide, the motor club announced today.  The Palo Alto-based automaker’s car is featured with more than 80 other green vehicles in the 2015 AAA Green Car Guide.  The best green car value award went to the 2014 Nissan Versa SV.

To help those in the market for a green car or truck, the 160-page, comprehensive fifth annual AAA guide reviews 88 battery electric vehicles, compressed natural gas-powered (CNG) vehicles, clean diesels, hybrids, partial zero emission vehicles (PZEVs), and vehicles with high fuel economy.  These vehicles were tested and scored by the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC) in 13 categories (braking, fuel economy, emissions, handling, ride comfort, etc.). The report also contains comprehensive information about green technologies from the ARC evaluators.

Additional Resources

“Low-emission vehicles and hybrid choices vary in quality, price and size.  The AAA Green Car Guide is one of our ongoing programs to help consumers navigate the wide-ranging green car marketplace,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering.  “AAA’s expertise and history of automotive research with alternative fuel vehicles continues to benefit AAA members and the public today.”

“The center also has a long-term interest in helping motorists cut their fuel bills and clean the air,” said ARC Manager Megan McKernan. “Green vehicles offer motorists a way to reduce emissions and save fuel and, depending on the choice of green vehicle, can help motorists save cash, especially when gas prices are high,” she added.

“For the 2015 guide, the research center divided the vehicles into six car classifications and identified the winners and finalists in each category,” said McKernan. “We also recognized overall ‘Green Car’ and ‘Best Value’ winners,” she said. “The Tesla took two awards – best overall and large car category.”

In describing the top-scoring green vehicle manufacturer, which held onto the top spot from last year, McKernan said, “All evaluators rated the Tesla high for comfort and ride quality. It handled well on our slalom course, and it has the best acceleration times of all the vehicles.”

The Tesla P85D has a 253-mile range, but even with a 240-volt charger, it can take 12 hours to fully re-charge, according to McKernan.  “Despite charging time, the Model P85D was our top-scoring electric vehicle this year.”

The 2014 Nissan Versa SV tops the 2015 guide list as the best green car value when price is factored in, according to McKernan. “It’s priced under $17,000, averages about 35 miles per gallon and has a spacious interior making it an affordable fuel-sipping car,” she added.

The research center tracks significant changes to a vehicle from model year to model year. If no significant changes were made to the power train in 2015, a prior model year’s results were used. For example, staff tested a 2014 Mazda3 sedan. No significant changes were made to its powertrain in 2015, so the 2014 results were include in the 2015 AAA Green Car Guide.

Overall Top Scoring Green Cars:

  1. 2015 Tesla S P85D Performance (Electric)                                                              94.87
  2. 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (Electric)                                                 85.50
  3. 2014 BMW i3 (Electric)                                                                                                   85.40
  4. 2015 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium Partial Zero-Emissions                            83.86
  5. 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE Clean Diesel                                                            80.91

 Best Value: Cost-Per-Point Scores:

  1. 2014 Nissan Versa SV  (Gasoline)                                                                             $249
  2. 2014 Nissan Versa Note SV (Gasoline)                                                                   $260
  3. 2013 Hyundai Accent GLS (Gasoline)                                                                      $269
  4. 2015 Toyota Yaris LE (Gasoline)                                                                                 $273
  5. 2014 Kia Soul+ (Gasoline)                                                                                            $276

2015 AAA Green Car Guide Category Winners:

  • Large car: Tesla Model S P85D (Electric)
  • Midsize: Audi A7 TDI Quattro Tiptronic (Clean Diesel)
  • Compact: Volkswagen e-Golf SEL Premium (Electric)
  • Subcompact: BMW i3 (Electric)
  • SUV/Minivan: Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (PZEV)
  • Pickup Truck: Ford F-150 Supercab Lariat (Gasoline)

The ARC’s engineers and technicians – who have more than 100 years combined experience – evaluated the vehicles. Each category was scored on 0-10 points.  Scores were totaled to determine top vehicles.  Then, each vehicle’s total score was divided by its “as-tested” price to determine its cost per point for best value.  The guide lists vehicle specifications, test scores, data and observations in one-page summaries.

Tested vehicles were selected based on emission certifications from the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings.  Tests were performed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and on Southern California roads.  Testing procedures were developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the EPA and the Auto Club.

The guide will be available to AAA members at no charge at AAA branches while supplies last.  It also can be downloaded on the iPad or on the AAA web site. More information can be found at www.AAA.com/greencar.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Tesla_exterior news-2014-audi-a7-TDI-sedan-exterior-beauty-002 F-150 Is Truck Trend Magazine’s 2015 Pickup Truck of the Year The All-Electric BMW i3. BMW_i3_full_length BMW_i3_charging 2015SubaruOutback-15 2015 Ford F-150 2015_VW_Golf_TDI_IMG_9563 2015_e-golf_4196 2015_BMW_i8_slalom 2014_Nissan_Versa_SV_IMG_9280

Gas Prices Rise on Higher Crude Oil Costs

April 20th, 2015 by admin

(WASHINGTON, April 20, 2015) The national average price of gas has increased about seven cents per gallon over the past week due to sharply rising crude oil costs. Domestic crude oil prices last week reached the highest levels of 2015 as supplies built more slowly than anticipated. Despite the increase, consumers continue to benefit from substantially lower gas prices compared to recent years, with today’s national average of $2.46 per gallon representing the least expensive average for this date since 2009 ($2.06).

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West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices settled at a 2015 high of $56.71 a barrel last Thursday as the latest EIA report showed that oil supplies increased at the slowest levels since the beginning of the year. The market also weighed potential geopolitical concerns in the Middle East and a weakening dollar. Domestic oil prices are more than $10 per barrel higher than a month ago, which has contributed to higher gas prices.

Planned and unplanned refinery problems also continue to affect the market, and may continue to impact price heading into the summer driving season.  These events can have lingering regional impacts, as has been the case on the West Coast where retail prices continue to be among the highest in the nation. This comes despite reports last week that California gasoline production is at a four-month high. While trending higher, the state’s numbers still reflect reduced production at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., which reduced production following a February 18 explosion. The refinery is not scheduled to complete its repair of damaged equipment until July, so regional prices may remain stubbornly high and sensitive to further production issues until that facility is back to full strength.

California ($3.15) continues to lead the market posting the nation’s highest retail average for gasoline, and is followed by Hawaii ($3.07), Alaska ($2.98), Nevada ($2.80) and Washington ($2.75). Drivers in South Carolina ($2.21), Mississippi ($2.23) and Alabama ($2.24) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.

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The average price for regular unleaded gasoline has climbed higher in 49 states and Washington, D.C. week-over-week. Thirty-six states have seen average prices rise by a nickel or more per gallon, and drivers in eight states are paying a dime or more per gallon one week ago. The largest increases have been in the Northeast, led by New Jersey (+14 cents), Connecticut (+13 cents), Massachusetts (+12 cents) and New Hampshire (+11 cents). Hawaii (-3 cents), consistently one of the nation’s most expensive markets, is the lone state to buck this trend as motorists experience a slight weekly savings at the pump.

Top10-Largest-Monthly-Increase-4-20-15

Monthly comparisons show that consumers in the majority of states (37 and Washington, D.C.) are paying more to refuel their vehicles, although the size of the increase varies. Pump prices are up by a nickel or more per gallon in 23 states and Washington D.C., and drivers in seven states are paying a dime or more per gallon. Utah (+17 cents), Kentucky (+17 cents), New Jersey (+13 cents) and Delaware (+12 cents) lead the market, registering the largest month-over-month increases. On the other end of the spectrum, the price has fallen in 13 states versus one month ago, with the largest savings in California (-13 cents), Oregon (-9 cents) and Hawaii (-8 cents).

Year-over-year, the average price at the pump remains sharply discounted across the country. Retail averages are down nationwide, and 46 states and Washington, D.C. are posting savings of $1.00 or more per gallon. Consumers in 15 states and Washington, D.C. are saving $1.25 or more per gallon at the pump, led by: Indiana ($1.36), Michigan ($1.33), Kentucky ($1.32) and Georgia ($1.31).

Global oil prices continue to reflect volatility and industry stakeholders remain divided over where supply and demand fundamentals will send prices. Attention is focused on high-cost production countries like the U.S., where new production has been a key contributor to the sharply lower price of crude. With the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil nearly fifty percent lower than the same month last year, more expensive production sources face pressure to remain economically viable in a dramatically different pricing environment.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX WTI settled 97 cents lower at $55.74 per barrel.

JulieHallAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Survey Provides In-Depth Data on Americans’ Driving Habits

WASHINGTON, D.C., (April 16, 2015) – On average, Americans drive 29.2 miles per day, making two trips with an average total duration of 46 minutes. This and other revealing data are the result of a ground-breaking study currently underway by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute.

Additional Resources

The Foundation’s new American Driving Survey offers the most up-to-date, comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis.  First-year data, collected May 2013 through May 2014, is available now from the ongoing study, which will set the benchmark for future data and ultimately reveal trends in Americans’ driving habits.

“This is the first ongoing study that provides a look at when and how much Americans are driving,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Existing federal data with this level of detail was last released in 2009, eight years after the previous release. This substantially limits the extent to which we can use existing data to draw conclusions about Americans’ current driving habits.”

The first-year results of the American Driving Survey revealed that:

  • Motorists age 16 years and older drive, on average, 29.2 miles per day or 10,658 miles per year.
  • Women take more driving trips, but men spend 25 percent more time behind the wheel and drive 35 percent more miles than women.
  • Both teenagers and seniors over the age of 75 drive less than any other age group; motorists 30-49 years old drive an average 13,140 miles annually, more than any other age group.
  • The average distance and time spent driving increase in relation to higher levels of education. A driver with a grade school or some high school education drove an average of 19.9 miles and 32 minutes daily, while a college graduate drove an average of 37.2 miles and 58 minutes.
  • Drivers who reported living “in the country” or “a small town” drive greater distances (12,264 miles annually) and spend a greater amount of time driving than people who described living in a “medium sized town” or city (9,709 miles annually).
  • Motorists in the South drive the most (11,826 miles annually), while those in the Northeast drive the least (8,468 miles annually).
  • On average, Americans drive fewer miles on the weekend than on weekdays.
  • Americans drive, on average, the least during winter months (January through March) at 25.7 miles daily; they drive the most during the summer months (July through September) at 30.6 miles daily.

“This new data, when combined with available crash data, will allow us to conduct unique, timely studies on crash rates for the first time,” continued Kissinger. “This will allow us to identify specific problems and evaluate various safety countermeasures to a degree never before possible.”

Results from the American Driver Survey were based on telephone interviews with a nationwide sample of 3,319 drivers who reported detailed information about all their driving trips taken the day before the interview. Data collection is ongoing; the information reported in the first-year results was collected between May 21, 2013 and May 31, 2014. The full results from the inaugural American Driving Survey are available online at www.aaafoundation.org.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly supported charitable educational and research organization.  Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded more than 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 55 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the internet at AAA.com.

Heather HunterHundreds of high school students across America compete for the opportunity to represent their state in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 14, 2015) – Innovation and ingenuity will be on display at locations across the country this spring as the brightest young automotive minds from coast-to-coast will gather to compete for millions of dollars in scholarships in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition.

The 2015 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition State Hands-On competitions will commence Tuesday, April 14 in Birmingham, AL. and continue across the country ending May 13 in Louisville, KY. The top team from each state will advance to the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. June 7-9, 2015. At the national finals, champions from each state will vie for millions of dollars in scholarships, automotive equipment and a trip to the Wood Brothers Racing facility where the students and instructor will work on race cars and learn from top automotive engineers.

Below are the dates and locations of 2015 Ford/AAA State Hands-On Competitions:

  • Birmingham, Ala. – Tuesday, April 14
  • Anchorage, Alaska. – Friday, April 17
  • Charlotte, N.C. / S.C.– Saturday, April 18
  • Jackson, Miss. – Tuesday, April 21
  • Okmulgee, Okla.  – Thursday, April 23
  • Milford, Neb. – Thursday, April 23
  • Helena, Mont. – Thursday, April 23
  • Alexandria, La.  – Thursday, April 23
  • Avondale, Ariz. – Friday, April 24
  • La Porte, Texas – Friday, April 24
  • Sanford, Fla. – Friday, April 24
  • Baltimore, Md.  – Saturday, April 25
  • Honolulu, Hawaii – Saturday, April 25
  • Renton, Wash. – Tuesday, April 28
  • Warwick, R.I.  – Wednesday, April 29
  • Charleston, W.Va. – Thursday, April 30
  • Sioux Falls, S.D. – Thursday, April 30
  • Indianapolis, Ind. – Friday, May 1
  • Atlanta, Ga. – Friday, May 1
  • Little Rock, Ark. – Friday, May 1
  • Danville, Calif. – Friday, May 1
  • Pomona, Calif. – Friday, May 1
  • Cheyenne, Wyo. – Friday, May 1
  • Nampa, Idaho – Friday, May 1
  • North Haven, Conn. – Friday, May 1
  • Richmond, Va. – Saturday, May 2
  • Bethlehem, Pa. – Saturday, May 2
  • Albuquerque, N.M. – Saturday, May 2
  • Sandy, Utah – Wednesday, May 6
  • Mequon, Wis. – Wednesday, May 6
  • Chanhassen, Minn. – Wednesday, May 6
  • Norwood, Mass. – Wednesday, May 6
  • Pittsburg, KS/Missouri – Thursday, May 7
  • Eatontown, N.J. – Thursday, May 7
  • Warren, Mich. – Thursday, May 7
  • Nashville, Tenn. – Thursday, May 7
  • Independence, Ohio – Thursday, May 7 West Fargo, N.D. – Friday, May 8
  • Gresham, Ore. – Friday, May 8
  • Champaign, Ill. – Friday, May 8
  • Morrisville, N.Y. – Friday, May 8
  • Epping, N.H./Maine/Vt. – Saturday, May 9
  • Denver, Colo. – Saturday, May 9
  • Ankeny, Iowa – Tuesday, May 12
  • Dover, Del. – Tuesday, May 12
  • Sparks, Nev. – Tuesday, May 12
  • Louisville, Ky. – Wednesday, May 13

At the State Hands-On Competition, teams will race against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair a deliberately “bugged” 2015 Ford Fiesta SE. A combination of an online written exam and hands-on competition scores determines each state’s championship team that will compete in the national finals. For additional details on 2015 State Hands-On Competition locations and dates, visit AutoSkills.AAA.com.

Students in 11th and 12th grades in secondary schools and colleges across the country that offer courses in automotive technology are participating in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. Teams competing in the State Hands-On Competitions are comprised of the 10 teams that scored highest on a statewide online written exam, administered at the beginning of the competition in January.

Both the national and the state-wide competitions have been organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The 2015 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers millions of dollars in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  Approximately 12,000 students from across the U.S. are competing for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 181,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About AAA

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has continued to point lower, due to the resolution of regional refinery issues and a global price of crude oil that remains relatively low. Today’s average price of $2.39 per gallon is fractions of a penny higher than one week ago, but represents a savings of one nickel per gallon versus one month ago. Consumers are saving $1.25 per gallon compared to this same date last year, and motorists continue to pay significantly lower prices at the pump in comparison to previous years: April 13, 2011 ($3.81); April 13, 2012 ($3.90), April 13, 2013 ($3.54). National pump prices have fallen for 22 of the past 30 days.

2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices1

Despite falling for the majority of the previous month, retail averages maintain the potential to inch upward short-term as we approach the summer driving season. The price at the pump remains heavily influenced by the global price of crude and the ability of domestic refineries to manage scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. Any market moving developments in the aforementioned items will cause the price at the pump to fluctuate; however it is estimated that even with prices reflecting seasonality, consumers are expected see prices move lower leading up to the peak driving season this summer.

California and Hawaii ($3.10) are nation’s most expensive markets for retail gasoline, and the only two states posting averages above $3 per gallon. Alaska ($2.93), Nevada ($2.78) and Washington ($2.73) round out the top five most expensive markets. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers in South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.13) and New Jersey ($2.17) are paying the least per gallon at the pump.

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Week-over-week comparisons are relatively stable, with average prices moving by +/- 3 cents in 39 states and Washington, D.C.  Seven states experienced more dramatic movements in the price at the pump (+/- 5 cents per gallon), led by: Delaware (+10 cents), Kentucky (+8 cents) and Ohio (+8 cents) and Michigan (-9 cents).

The majority of states (36 and Washington, D.C) are posting monthly savings in the average price per gallon, largely due to localized refinery issues being resolved in the Midwest and West Coast markets. The Western states of California (-29 cents) and Oregon (-18 cents) are posting the largest discounts over this period, and are joined by six additional states where the average price at the pump is discounted by a dime or more per gallon. Retail averages have moved higher in 14 states month-over-month, led by Utah (+14 cents) and Illinois (+14 cents) where the price is up by more than one dime per gallon.

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Every state and Washington, D.C. continues to post yearly savings, with the average price per gallon discounted by more than $1.00 in 45 states and Washington, D.C.  Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. are posting year-over-year savings of $1.25 per gallon or more, and motorists in Michigan (-$1.41), Illinois (-$1.40) and Indiana (-$1.38) are experiencing the largest savings over this period.

The global oil market remains bearish, despite the price of crude showing volatility reminiscent of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Global supply continues to outpace demand, and news of sustained production from OPEC along with high-cost production countries like the U.S is expected to keep downward pressure on global crude prices. There have been reports of falling rig counts, particularly in the Northern U.S., due to sharply lower global prices that have shifted profitability dynamics for producers using new means to extract crude oil from the ground that is more expensive than traditional methods. Despite these numbers, U.S. oil production and supplies continue to outpace demand and exert downward pressure on crude oil prices.

At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was up 85 cents and settled at $51.64 per barrel.

National Average Drops Further

April 6th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, April 6, 2015) The price at the pump continues to reflect seasonality as refineries complete scheduled maintenance and prepare for the summer driving season. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 24 of the past 30 days, after reaching a peak-to-date price for 2015 of $2.46 per gallon on March 7. While prices could still rise again this spring if global crude prices rise or domestic refineries experience production issues, the timing of this seasonal peak would be within the range of recent years but the “high” would be significantly lower. Peak dates and prices in recent years were April 28, 2014 ($3.70); February 27, 2013 ($3.79); April 5 and 6, 2012 ($3.94); and May 5, 2011 ($3.98).

Today’s national average price at the pump is $2.39 per gallon, which represents a savings of three cents versus one week ago and seven cents versus one month ago. Consumers continue to experience significant year-over-year savings in the price of retail gasoline and are saving $1.19 per gallon compared to this same date last year.

 2012-2015_Avg-Gas-Prices

Production issues have largely been resolved in the Midwest and on the West Coast, following a number of unexpected issues at refineries, which caused regional price spikes over the past few weeks. Despite these localized swings, the low price of crude oil has kept the national average relatively stable over the past month. Unless there are new regional refinery issues or global crude prices turn markedly higher, drivers can expect to see pump prices continue to slide leading up to the start of the summer driving season.

California drivers continue to pay the most in the nation for retail gasoline ($3.15). However, with local refineries returning to normal production levels, prices in the state have posted the largest declines in the nation over the past several weeks and have narrowed the price spread between the Golden State and Hawaii ($3.12), which usually holds the title for the most expensive state average in the country. Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.79) and Washington ($2.74) round out the top five most expensive markets. Motorists in South Carolina ($2.09), Tennessee ($2.13) and Mississippi ($2.15) are paying the nation’s lowest prices to refuel their vehicles.

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Most drivers across the country are experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump. The average price is down in 40 states and Washington D.C., with the largest drops seen in Indiana (-14 cents), Ohio (-13 cents) and Kentucky (-10 cents). Retail prices have ticked higher versus one week ago in 10 states, all by less than a nickel per gallon, led by: Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota (all +3 cents).

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Forty-one states are now posting month-over-month discounts in the average price per gallon, led by California (-29 cents), Minnesota (-22 cents) and Oregon (-18 cents). Twelve additional states are registering monthly savings of a dime or more per gallon, and drivers in 36 states are saving at least a nickel per gallon over this same period. On the other end of the spectrum, prices moved higher versus one month ago in 9 states and Washington, D.C, with Utah (+25 cents), Idaho (+24 cents), Illinois (+14 cents) and Wyoming (+11 cents) are all posting premiums of a dime or more per gallon.

The average price at the pump nationwide remains substantially less expensive than one year ago, due to the relatively low price of crude. Every state and Washington, D.C., continues to post year-over-year savings, and the average price for retail gasoline is down by more than a dollar in 42 states and Washington, D.C. The price at the pump is discounted by $1.25 or more in 12 states.

The global oil market remains in flux due to news of declining revenues for producers as well as the potential for additional supply to enter the market. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member nations posted their lowest net export revenues since 2010, due to reductions in oil exports from the countries and the sharply lower price of crude. Market watchers remain focused on the oil cartel for any signs of a move to cut production to stabilize prices, and with news of a framework for a nuclear agreement having been reached between Western powers and Iran, speculations of oversupply are expected to keep downward pressure on the market. Iran holds the world’s fourth largest proven reserves of crude oil but since 2012 sanctions have limited the OPEC member country’s ability to participate fully in the global oil market.

At the close of Thursday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed down 95 cents at $49.14 per barrel. The NYMEX was closed on Friday in observance of Good Friday.

Gas Prices May Drop in Time for Summer

April 1st, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile

 

(WASHINGTON, April 1, 2015)

Gas Prices Remain Relatively Stable and Cheap for Most Drivers

  • Gas prices remained relatively stable in March with the national average up only about two cents per gallon during the month. Today’s national average price of gas is $2.41 per gallon, which is about $1.15 per gallon less than a year ago.
  • “This spring has been relatively pain free at the pumps for most drivers with a few exceptions,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Gas prices in most places are still relatively cheap and we have not seen the national average jump at the same dramatic rates that have been so common during the spring in recent years.”
  • Average U.S. gas prices are up 37 cents per gallon since falling to near a six-year low of $2.03 per gallon on Jan. 26, 2015. It is common for gas prices to rise 50 cents per gallon or more in late winter and early spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline production.
  • The average price of gas in March was $2.43 per gallon, which was the cheapest average for the month since 2009.
  • The cost of crude oil has remained volatile despite relative stability in gas prices. West Texas Intermediate oil prices closed as high as $51.53 per barrel in early March, but also closed at a six-year low of $43.46 per barrel on March 17 before rising again later in the month. Crude oil prices make up more than half of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
  • A refinery explosion and other production problems led to a significant spike in gas prices in states west of the Rockies in late February and early March, as California’s average reached a high of $3.44 per gallon on March 6. It can be difficult for local production to meet demand when California’s refineries experience problems because there are no pipelines that connect the state to the major refining regions east of the Rockies. Average prices in California have since dropped about 26 cents per gallon.
  • Drivers in the Midwest also faced a brief spike in gas prices in March as several large refineries in the region experienced temporary problems. For example, gas prices in Illinois jumped more than 33 cents per gallon, but have since begun to decline as refineries return to normal operations.

AAA Sees Possibility of Lower Gas Prices by the Summer

  • Lower gas prices may be on the way for U.S. consumers by this summer if refinery maintenance ends smoothly and if crude oil remains relatively cheap. It is even possible that gas prices will return to near $2 per gallon in some areas, as long as there are no unexpected problems in the meantime. AAA does not expect the national average to rise above $3 per gallon this year.
  • “There is a real hope that gas prices could drop significantly in time for the busy summer driving season,” continued Ash. “The overall outlook looks good for drivers, and with any luck we will avoid the types of problems that often lead to higher gas prices at this time of year.”
  • Many refineries have completed seasonal maintenance, though unexpected problems could still occur. Many refineries and wholesalers will switch to more expensive summer-blend gasoline by May 1 to meet EPA clean air regulations.
  • The cost of crude oil is likely to be the most important factor influencing gas prices over the next few months. Many experts believe that crude oil prices may drop further due to abundant supplies, but international conflict, declining production or other issues could result in higher prices.
  • There is a glut of petroleum around the world that has helped to keep prices at the lowest levels since 2009. Domestic oil production remains about 14 percent higher than a year ago. U.S. commercial crude oil supplies are about 24 percent higher than a year ago, while gasoline supplies are about six percent higher than a year ago. In addition, a nuclear deal with Iran may allow that country to export more crude oil, which would further increase global oil supplies.
  • There remains a possibility that oil prices could rise despite abundant supplies. Most recently, the market has been concerned that the conflict in Yemen could lead to violence in major oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Households Saving more than $100 a Month on Gasoline

  • Many drivers are saving $15-$30 on every trip to the gas station due to lower prices. AAA estimates that households are saving more than $425 million per day on gasoline compared to a year ago, which works out to average savings of more than $100 per household a month.
  • About 93 percent of U.S. gas stations are selling gas that is priced between $2 and $3 per gallon. About 1 in 3 stations are still selling gas for less than $2.25 per gallon. A year ago, nearly every station in the country was selling gas for more than $3 per gallon.
  • The most common price in the country today is $2.299 per gallon, which compares to $3.599 per gallon a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: California ($3.19), Hawaii ($3.15), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80), and Washington ($2.75). The five states with the lowest average prices today include: South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14), New Jersey ($2.16), Mississippi ($2.16) and Alabama ($2.17).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com.

Michael Green Contact TileWASHINGTON, D.C, (March 30, 2015) – AAA’s CEO Bob Darbelnet has issued the following statement in response to the Department of Transportation’s introduction of the GROW America Act today, a bill to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements over six years.

“As states begin springtime road construction projects, AAA is pleased that Secretary Foxx and President Obama have put forward a blueprint for improving the nation’s roads and bridges. This transportation and infrastructure proposal promises to keep America globally competitive in a rapidly changing world.

“The goals of the GROW AMERICA Act are commendable.  For example, additional funding for NHTSA and its vehicle recall program should enhance driver safety. Improving performance incentives to maintain the quality of the nation’s roads and bridges should also help to restore driver confidence that highways are managed wisely and efficiently.

“Despite these improvements, we are disappointed the bill fails to identify a long-term and viable funding source to address the Highway Trust Fund shortfall.  Repatriation of corporate overseas profits might provide an infusion of money for construction and repairs, but it’s a temporary solution that does not solve our funding crisis.

“AAA continues to believe that increasing the federal gas tax is the most effective and sustainable way to pay for roads and bridges in the near term, provided the additional funds are invested in improvements that ease congestion and increase safety.”

Retail Gas Price Rally Fades

March 30th, 2015 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015)  Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.42 per gallon. Consumers are paying two cents more than one month ago but fractions of a penny less than one week ago and $1.13 less than the same date last year. The national average has now fallen for 17 of the past 23 days.

2012-2015-Avg-Gas-Prices

The status of regional refineries continues to be a driving factor for gas prices in many parts of the country. However, while several weeks ago it was refineries going offline and driving prices higher in the midwest and west coast, today it is those facilities resuming production that has driven prices lower in the same regions. For more than a month California has been the nation’s most expensive state for gasoline. Today’s price in the Golden State is $3.20 followed by Hawaii ($3.14), Alaska ($2.91), Nevada ($2.80) and Washington ($2.75). South Carolina ($2.10), Tennessee ($2.14) and New Jersey ($2.16) are the least expensive markets in the country for retail gasoline.

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Consumers in 34 states and Washington, D.C., are paying less at the pump than one week ago, with the largest price drops in Michigan (-11 cents), California (-6 cents) and Oregon (-4 cents). Over the same period the price has moved higher in 16 states. The most dramatic increase was in Florida, where prices rose more than 10 cents during this span. While weekly declines have been experienced in many states, gas prices are still higher over the past month in most of the country. The price at the pump has increased in 32 states and Washington, D.C., with consumers in nine states paying premiums of a dime or more per gallon compared to a month ago. The largest monthly increases have occurred in Utah (+46 cents), Idaho (+44 cents) and Illinois (+22 cents).

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While prices over the past month are higher for many drivers, year-over-year price comparisons continue to highlight universal savings. Sharply lower oil prices have resulted in substantially less expensive gas prices in every state, including a price at the pump that is discounted by $1 or more per gallon in 43 states and Washington, D.C.

After briefly rising back above $50 per barrel last week, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped back below that threshold to end last week. Crude prices have fallen to multi-year lows due largely to ample global production. The possibility of increased exports from Iran should a nuclear deal be reached this week would further increase production and has for now offset any “risk premium” stemming from regional stability due to violence in Yemen. A possible deal between the West and Iran could bring an estimated 500,000 barrels per day of additional oil to the global market, which would add more supply to an already well-supplied market and exert further downward pressure on crude prices. At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled down $2.56 at $48.87 per barrel.

Michael Green Contact TileUnprecedented Look into the Causes of Teen Crashes by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 25, 2015) – The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.

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Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied, including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.

“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”

The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
  • Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes
  • Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
  • Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes

“It is troubling that passengers and cell phones were the most common forms of distraction given that these factors can increase crash risks for teen drivers,” said AAA CEO Bob Darbelnet. “The situation is made worse by the fact that young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel and cannot draw upon their previous experience to manage unsafe conditions.”

Researchers found that drivers manipulating their cell phone (includes calling, texting or other uses), had their eyes off the road for an average of 4.1 out of the final six seconds leading up to a crash. The researchers also measured reaction times in rear-end crashes and found that teen drivers using a cell phone failed to react more than half of the time before the impact, meaning  they crashed without braking or steering.

“This study shows how important it is for states to review their graduated driver licensing and distracted driving laws to ensure they provide as much protection as possible for teens,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving.”

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by restricting their exposure to risky situations. Thirty-three states have laws that prevent cell phone use for teens and 18 states have passenger restrictions meeting AAA’s recommendations.

Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving. AAA recommends that parents teach teens about the dangers of cell phone use and restrict passengers during the learning-to-drive process.  Before parents begin practice driving with teens, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction. AAA offers a comprehensive driver education program, where teens can learn specifically how using a cell phone affects driving abilities and increases their crash risk. For more information, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.​

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.

The full research report and b-roll video of teen driver crashes is available on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Iowa to conduct this study.

Lytx™, Inc., a global leader in video-based driver safety technology using in-vehicle event recorders, provided the collision videos. The Lytx DriveCam program collects video, audio and accelerometer data when a driver triggers an in-vehicle device by hard braking, fast cornering or an impact that exceeds a certain g-force. Each video is 12-seconds long and provides information from before and after the trigger. The videos are used in the DriveCam Program for coaching drivers to improve behavior and reduce collisions.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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